Monday, April 18, 2011

Death and the Loss of Memory

Our loved one are associated through the bonds of memory. We remember departed relatives and friends often through the memories of others as well as our own. We may reminisce over a lost father or mother with the surviving spouse or with one close to that parent.

I often asked my mother about the life of my father, Harold Groothuis, who died when I was eleven. Of course, I had many memories of my father, but many had faded from my mind, given how young I was when he was killed in an airplane crash. Thus, whenever I wanted a detail about Dad's life, I would ask Mom. Or, we would simply discuss events we both remembered about Dad.

Now Mom is gone, and with her departs these conversations about my father. There is no one left who knew Dad as well as Mom--although some relatives remain with their memories of Dad. So, in a sad way, I have lost both my mother and many of the memories of my father as well. This is life "under the sun," East of Eden.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14

7 Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
8 However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.

9 You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.
10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 12

1 Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
2 before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
3 when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;
4 when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
5 when people are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags itself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.

6 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Everything is meaningless!”

The Conclusion of the Matter
9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd.12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

No man is a success who fails his own wife.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How is (Your Chronically Ill Spouse?)

The healthy one who is married to a chronically ill person is often asked, "How is so-and-so?" This shows concern, but it sometimes puts the spouse in a troubling position. First, there is usually no short answer, since so many things are wrong; it is difficult to summarize. Second, one may not want to rehearse the misery yet once again. Third, the healthy one would often like to talk about something else, since so much of home life is taken up with the vicissitudes and exigencies of suffering: doctor visits, medications, emergencies, depression, and so on. When the healthy one goes out, he or she may want to temporarily forget all this--at least for a few hours.

Added to his, the healthy care-giver suffers terribly as well. Life becomes a puzzling ruin of dashed hopes, endless frustrations, and relational challenges (to put it nicely). The healthy husband or wife might rather hear this question, "How are you doing in light of all this?" But the one who asks should be prepared for an honest answer, one that may be hard to take given the rawness of suffering involved.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Coping with Chronic Illness

Please visit the "Care Corner" of "Where is God? Ministries," concerning how various people advise you on how to deal with chronic illness.